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How to Make Dough Rise

Updated on September 5, 2014
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Creative Commons License | Source

Working With Yeast When Baking Bread

Making homemade bread is easy; but, one of the main challenges in baking bread is getting the dough to rise. Yeast will rise best in temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees fahrenheit. Finding a location in your home that stays this temperature can be difficult. If you try to make dough rise in a cooler spot, the rising will be sluggish. If you put it in a spot that is too warm, the yeast can burn itself out.

Most of us do not live in rooms that are between 80 and 90 degrees. If you do, you can just set your bread dough out on the counter to rise. Most of us need to find a warmer location.

This lens will explore working with yeast and how to make dough rise. There are plenty of ideas here, so everyone should be able to find a solution that will work for each situation.

So, let's bake bread!

The Bread Baker's Apprentice - How to Make Dough Rise Perfectly and So Much More!

Learn how to control the outcome of every loaf of bread you make, as you master the techniques outlined in this wonderful cookbook!

The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread
The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread

If you are serious about learning to bake bread, this is the one book to add to your cooking library. Over 285 5-star reviews can't be wrong!


How to Use Your Oven to Make Dough Rise

  1. Turn your oven to "warm" for just a few minutes. Let it warm up, then turn it off. Leave the oven door shut. Cover the dough with a cloth, then set it in the oven. As long as you do not open the oven door, it should stay about the right temperature.
  2. Fill a shallow pan with hot water and put it on a lower shelf in the oven. Set your bread dough above it and leave the door closed. If the water cools off, dump it out and add more hot water.
  3. If your oven has a pilot light, you might be able to use that for your rising dough. Watch to be sure it does not get too warm. If needed, keep the door open a bit to adjust the temperature.
  4. You may be able to use the lightbulb in your oven to get it to the correct temperature for rising dough.

Activating Dry Yeast - How to Make Dough Rise

Need some help activating your dry yeast? Check out this instructional video.

Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer - Make Dough Rise the Professional Way!

Now you can rise bread at home with professional results. This proofer will maintain a consistent temperature and humidity for a perfect rise. It also makes yogurt and tempers chocolate. Perfect for the home kitchen, this proofer collapses for easy storage.

Folding Bread Proofer and Yogurt Maker
Folding Bread Proofer and Yogurt Maker

Check the reviews on Amazon! This proofer maintains a temperature between 70 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit (21-49 degrees Celsius), and a humidity of 60 to 80%.


A Makeshift Proof Box

How to Make Dough Rise

Commercial bakeries use a proof box for their rising dough. You can make a homemade version very easily with items you already have in your house.

Step 1 - Place a towel over a heating pad.

Step 2 - Set a cake rack on top of the towel.

Step 3 - Put the dough in its bowl on the rack.

Step 4 - Invert a corrugated cardboard box or a foam ice chest over the entire set up.

Step 5 - Adjust the heating pad setting to change the temperature inside the box.

Step 6 - Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

Tip: If you need to increase humidity for the final rise, put the loaf pans inside sealed plastic bags to which a little water has been added.

Baking Bread at Home

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Creative Commons License | Source

Do you bake bread at home?

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How to Make Dough Rise

Here is an instructional video from Fleischmann's Yeast with tips for making your bread dough rise.

More Ideas for Getting Dough to Rise

  1. Set the dough to rise in a sunny window or on a warm sun porch.
  2. Put your bread dough on a shelf above the hot water heater.
  3. Try the top of the refrigerator for a warm bread rising spot.
  4. Park your car in the sun and put the bread dough inside.

Making Dough Rise

Check out these instructional videos on preparing your bread dough for rising.

Do You Need a Bread Bowl?

Mason Cash Mixing Bowl, Cane, 9-Quart
Mason Cash Mixing Bowl, Cane, 9-Quart

A nice, big bowl for letting bread dough rise.


How do you make your bread?

See results

Do You Need a Cooling Rack for Your Bread?

Parrish Magic Line 16 Inch x 24 inch Cooling Rack
Parrish Magic Line 16 Inch x 24 inch Cooling Rack

If the bottom of your loaf always turns out soggy, you need a cooling rack!


Proving the Yeast

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons License | Source

Ingredients for Baking Bread - How to Make Dough Rise

Red Star Active Dry Yeast, 2-Pound Pouches (Pack of 2)
Red Star Active Dry Yeast, 2-Pound Pouches (Pack of 2)

Buying good quality yeast in bulk saves money. Store it in the refrigerator or freezer for a long shelf-life.


What form of yeast do you prefer when baking bread?

See results

Another Terrific Yeast

Fleischmann's Instant Dry Yeast 1lb bag
Fleischmann's Instant Dry Yeast 1lb bag

A good deal on instant yeast. Just mix this in with your dry ingredients. No need to activate the yeast before adding to your recipe.


Do You Have a Favorite Spot for Bread Dough Rising?

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    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      5 years ago from San Francisco

      Since I use whole wheat flour, I add a little gluten to help it rise and set it on top of the refrigerator. That works well unless we are having a particularly cold day. Then, if I'm not using the oven, I let it rise in the oven, with the light on. That seems to be just warm enough. I like your idea of the makeshift proofing box though. Going to try that.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Freshly baked bread is so tasty and the kitchen always smells so good. Thanks for sharing your tips. Take care :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Congratulations on getting the Purple Star and Lens of the Day for this great lens! I enjoyed visiting here, nice work. Thanks for sharing.

    • geosum profile image


      5 years ago

      When I was growing up in an old farmhouse, the attic had a tin roof and was the perfect place for raising dough.

    • VspaBotanicals profile image


      5 years ago

      I love this article, and now I"m interested in making bread. Thanks.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I use a picnic cooler and place a hot water bottle in it.

      Water at about 120 degrees.

      Cooler maintain a temp of about 85 degrees for many hours.

    • ComfortsOfHome profile image


      6 years ago

      I put mine in the microwave after heating a cup of water in there, as my home can be quite cool.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I remember that during the breakup of the Soviet Union (1990) not food in the shops and there was my mother baked bread, warming the dough into a pan of hot water.

    • spids1 profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens very well written.

    • BestRatedStuff profile image


      6 years ago

      My favorite spot is outside in a sunny corner of our balcony, but if I'm in a hurry or it is cold I usually will put the oven on real low and put the covered bowl inside and switch the oven off.

      We all like homemade bread and buns here, so either I or my kids will make them pretty regularly. Sometimes it is a joint effort of a couple or more of us, and is a wonderful bonding experience.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      6 years ago from Colorado

      I really want to start baking my own bread. You have really provided so many fantastic tips. I think the heating pad technique will work well in my home, as I keep the temp pretty chilly in here. Thanks! Congrats on LotD!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love the fresh baked bread!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      congratulations on your LotD. I love the smell fresh baked bread.

    • weakbond profile image

      Nnadi bonaventure Chima 

      6 years ago from Johanesburg

      Highly informative lens. congrats on lotD

    • Keith J Winter profile image

      Keith Winter 

      6 years ago from Spain

      Congratulations on LOTD. In the summer I just put it on the kitchen worktop. In winter I use a warm oven.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I do now, thanks to this lens. d

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 

      6 years ago from GRENADA

      My Dad was the expert baker in my family. Congratulations on winning the Lens of The Day (LOTD)!!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I put a quart of water in a glass measuring cup in the microwave to get hot, and put the loaves in the microwave with the hot water (no power). That does a good job. I sometimes balance 2 smaller pans of bread on top of the measuring cup or put a pan of rolls on top, or put 2 larger loaves on either side of the cup. The microwave keeps the heat in nicely. I have found that inexpensive plastic bags (food grade) that are about 10-12" square are great to cover the bread and so easy to peal off if greased a little. I wash the bags and reuse them for the baked loaves.

      I checked the bread machine option above, but I actually do not like the taste of the bread when it is baked in the machine. So I just make the dough in the machine and bake it in a conventional oven. I add about a tablespoon of parmesan (out of a sprinkler can from the store) to the other ingredients, and I think it gives the bread machine dough a better taste.

      Another thing I have learned about 25 years ago is that it is not necessary to preheat the oven. I set the oven to 350 degrees and put the loaves in for 35 minutes, and they come out perfect. I had to get a new stove 3 years ago, and it takes 10 minutes to preheat--waste of time for loaves, but I do preheat for cake or rolls. (For 30 years I had been using my husband's mother's '60's stove--remember the avocado color that was popular in the '60's?! We used her '60's avocado fridge for almost that long!)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice lens...and congratulation on LOTD

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      6 years ago

      When I made bread I would heat the oven on very low, turn it off, and then placed the covered bowl inside with the door open

    • pheonix76 profile image


      6 years ago from WNY

      I usually put the dough on a warm stovetop and that does the trick nicely! Thanks for sharing and congrats on LotD!

    • iijuan12 profile image


      6 years ago from Florida

      I use my oven. Great lens! Congratulations on LOTD!!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD. Handy how to. Thanks.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This looks very tempting. I enjoy eating bread, and wish I could sample a bite of your cooking. Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Excellent tips for making bread rise. This was something I struggled with for years until I finally got wise that the dough was not staying uniformly warm. Once I figured that out (DUH) it was easy from then on. Thanks for sharing your ideas...will give them a try too.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Great lens. Congratulations for LotD. Blessed.

    • jlshernandez profile image


      6 years ago

      I am now inspired to bake bread. Thanks for sharing.

    • Rosaquid profile image


      6 years ago

      OH! and Congratulations on LOTD! Good work!

    • Rosaquid profile image


      6 years ago

      Actually my husband makes all of our whole wheat bread in a machine several times each week.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 

      6 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Our house temperature in China hovers around 50 degrees F. in the winter. Shanghai is not in the zone that is allowed heating, since it is south of the Yellow River. That means it is COLD. In the winter I have to use the oven - no other way - and I have to be very very careful to just keep it warm and not let it get hot.

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 

      6 years ago

      congrats on the LOTD

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wonderful lens on bakery.. I shall remember the lessons.. :)

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      6 years ago

      Homemade bread is so good. Thanks for the tips and congrats on LOTD.

    • profile image

      faye durham 

      6 years ago

      Great tips. I can almost smell the bread baking. Congrats on LOTD.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My memories swept me away to Mom making bread at least once a week when I was growing up and we still always waited for the first warm slice and Day always got the heel...well most of the time, but once in a while he would give that right to someone else. So I guess my favorite spot for dough to rise in in Mom's kitchen. Congratulations on a fully risen LotD honor!

    • profile image

      Deadicated LM 

      6 years ago

      I love to bake bread, you should try Mark Bittman's "No Knead Bread" and Jim Lahey (from Sullivan Street Bakery) recipe.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Nice lens - makes me want to head the the kitchen especially as cooler weather is upon us. Nothing smells as good as baking bread in the oven, except maybe baking chocolate chip cookies ;-).

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Top of the refrigerator. That's what works in this apartment. For years, in another location, I used the warm oven method, but that does not get good results here, for some reason.

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 

      6 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      I used to use the airing cupboard, which is the cupboard in an English home that houses the hot water tank. Now I use a pre-warmed oven or the pellet stove top in winter (I now live in Canada and all hot water tanks are lagged too much to work like in England.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Always wanted to make my own bread, definitely the lens to help me...thanks

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm no baker but this looks like a lot of really good information. Congratulations on getting LoTD!

    • anne mohanraj profile image

      anne mohanraj 

      6 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this wonderful lens!

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I've set it in a warm windowsill with a towel or in a warm oven. Great info here - I've never tried it in a car! Congrats on LotD. *blessed

    • katiecolette profile image


      6 years ago

      I love homemade bread! Thanks for sharing your tips on how to make dough rise :))

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      We have a radiator heating system in the flat so I just put it on top of the radiator and it rises nicely every single time. Not for baking bread though but my crescent rolls are yummy :)

    • radhanathswamifan profile image


      6 years ago

      I just keep it out. This lens has provided me with great ideas.. will try!

    • SheilaMilne profile image


      6 years ago from Kent, UK

      I use a bread making machine, but before I got it, I used my linen cupboard which is kept warm by the hot water boiler. There's nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I live in a very warm part of the USA but one or two months a year the air temperture will drop to 50 degrees, so I built a bread rising cabinet, it is a simple device a box made from clear polycarbonite, an electrical coil that is used to keep water pipes from freezing ( I had to buy it online we don't need it here ) and a thermostat to regulate the cabinet's temperature. Prefect dough rises every time, I keep it at 110 degrees F.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I used a plastic film or the cling wrap and secure it with elastic. The bottom of the bowl and the sides, I wrapped a warm tea towel around it and put it in the cupboard or in the pantry.

    • delia-delia profile image


      6 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! my favorite spot is in your house, since I can't get it right! ;-)

    • JuneNash profile image

      June Nash 

      6 years ago

      I prewarm the oven a bit, then put the dough in there. Draft free and a bit warm.

      If the house is warm, I will leave it on the counter.

    • scrapquilter profile image

      Myreda Johnson 

      6 years ago from Ohio USA

      On top of the oven with the oven heated to a low temperature.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Just came back to say congratulations on a well-deserved Lens of the Day honor!

    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 

      6 years ago

      @lilblackdress lm: yes me too :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Popping back in to bless this lens and congratulate you on your LotD! :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Congratulations for the lens of the day ... (:

    • radkoaleks profile image


      6 years ago

      Very nice lens. Good work!

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 

      6 years ago from Jersey Shore

      We have a sun porch-if I cover it with a damp cloth and set it out there is rises very well! Congrats on LotD - love that home made bread! ~~~Blessed~~~

    • thememorybooksh1 profile image


      6 years ago

      Very Nice Informative lens.

    • suzy-t profile image


      6 years ago

      Terrific lens for all of us "challenged" bakers !. I usually rely on my bread machine to do the work for me but have made bread from scratch with varying results. Top of the fridge was my "spot" to rise the dough. Blessed and pinned to my SquidAngel board.

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 

      6 years ago

      In the pre-warmed oven with a damp cotton towel over it. My sister and I used to be in charge of making 6 loaves of whole wheat bread from scratch each week for our family of seven. "Squid Angel blessed."

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 

      6 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      I absolutely love making bread by hand. Now that we live in France, the bakery bread is so good & much cheaper than home-made so I don't do as much. When I do, I just put it on the bench to rise. It gets hot here!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I make sure the dishwasher is empty. Run it on the rinse cycle. When it's done I put my pans of bread in it for final rising. Works like a professional bakery proofer! I used to put hot water in the bottom of the sink, invert mugs or use a rack in it and put the pans there and cover the whole thing with clear plastic. You can see what's happening and pop them in the oven at just the right time. In the hot summer I just use the counter top because it's hot and muggy enough in the kitchenn.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      6 years ago from Canada

      I set my bread pans on the stove to rise so that when I preheat my oven they get to enjoy that little extra push to rise. My husband loves his fresh baked cinnamon buns.

    • MomwithAHook LM profile image

      Sara Duggan 

      6 years ago from California

      I made bread via a bread machine so all I had to do was put the mix in the machine add the yeast and let it take care of itself.

    • PaulWinter profile image


      6 years ago

      I love home made bread, but it isn't always easy to get it to rise well. Thanks for the tips.

    • lilblackdress lm profile image

      lilblackdress lm 

      6 years ago

      Wonderful lens! I can smell the aroma of bread!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I smiled at your car idea. One Easter I decided to make rolls and the power went out in my apartment. I put the roll pan on the passenger seat of my car and drove to my parents' to fuse their oven. The rolls were in the shape of little birds and by the time I go there, they were very puffed up! Still looked cute, tho.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I haven't try my hand at making bread yet, but it's on my list.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Excellent guide you've put together! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • M Schaut profile image

      Margaret Schaut 

      7 years ago from Detroit

      I love homemade bread and I like to knead it myself to work off stress. It is so relaxing to smell the bread baking that I would rather be stress free and enjoy it.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I haven't tried making bread for a very long time. Must have had beginner's luck back when I did, though, because the dough rose. And rose. And rose. But this is great info, and I'm sure, given my track record in the kitchen lately, that if I try my hand at bread-making again, I'll need it!

    • marigoldina profile image

      Heather B 

      7 years ago

      My dough always flops and drops. I seriously need this lens!

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 

      7 years ago from France

      I start the yeast in warm water to check that it is good and live. When the dough hasn't risen in the past, I've put dried yeast directly into the mix and I suspect that it has been to old, so now I test first. I also notice that the dough likes it really quite warm - but I put it over a too hot stove once and baked its bottom!

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      7 years ago from Land of Aloha

      Usually I just cover the bowl and set it on top of the stove as the oven preheats.

    • kimbesa2 profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      My pizza crust goes into a glass or stainless bowl, with a towel over top, and sits on the stove. In warm weather, no need to turn the stove on, but if it's really cold, I may turn on the oven for a few minutes to get a little warmth happening.

    • ajtyne profile image


      7 years ago from North Carolina

      I've only made my bread a very few times ever -- by hand. But I have been given a bread machine and would like to try it. We go thru bread like it was water. My daughter loves raisin bread, but it's expensive for the amount you get. I want to make whole grain bread, whole grain raisin bread and whole grain bagels -- anyone have good bread machine recipes?

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 

      7 years ago

      This has been pretty helpful. Thank you for sharing.

    • bangcool profile image


      7 years ago

      Its looks yummy for me. thanks for the share. this make me feel hungry, lol

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      7 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I've made bread but it was a lot of work for the end product (read: not that great). It's also a little trickier making bread in a dry climate (my excuse of the day!) but I do love fresh hot bread! Nice instructions!

    • Diane Cass profile image

      Diane Cass 

      7 years ago from New York

      We have a bread machine and make our own bread at least 3 times a week, and pizza once a week. I love it. My favorite bread machine cookbook is "Bread Machine Magic". I highly recommend it if you have a machine.

    • hsschulte profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the makeshift proof box instructions. I'd never heard of that.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Since I avoid air conditioning, my house is probably warm enough to make the dough rise. My dad makes bread in bread machines and he used to sell it at the farmer's market every week during the summer. People loved Clyde's Homemade Bread, but he only makes it for family now. At 84, he decided to retire.


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